|This cabinet photograph is identified on the reverse as Jelinger Symons of the Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Jelinger Henry Symons was born about 1836 the son of Commander William Symons, RN and Mary Ann. He married his wife Annie Grace Hyatt on 16 August 1864. The young man
pictured with Symons may well be his nephew George Hyatt who was listed as living in the Symons household in the 1891 British Census. Symons died at the ripe old age of 85 in 1925.
Hart's Army List of 1885 gives the following information about Jelinger Henry Symons, Royal Marines:
Cornet, 2nd Lieutenant or Ensign - 3 August 1853
Lieutenant - 21 October 1854
Captain - 10 December 1863
Honorary Major - 23 October 1875
Retired on pension or retired pay
Symons served in the Baltic Campaign (1854) during the Crimean War serving on the HMS St. George and transferring to the HMS Formidable on 27 March 1857.
The British Census of 1861 shows Symons as a first lieutenant serving aboard the 24-gun wooden screw frigate HMS Topaze at Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. While in
British Columbia the crew of the Topaze built the still-standing Race Rock Lighthouse. Officers and men of the Topaze also acted in a police capacity, preventing the looting of the
wrecked Hudson's Bay ship Nanette.
Symons was probably still a member of the Topaze's company when the ship laid a bronze tablet in 1863 at the Juan Fernández Islands commemorating the stay of marooned sailor
Alexander Selkirk (the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's fictional character Robinson Crusoe). He had apparently left the ship's company by the time she visited Easter Island in 1868 and
removed the Moai Moai Hava and Hoa Hakananai'a which now reside in the British Museum.
F. G. Steggles - Photographer
Shepton Mallet & Midsomer Norton. England
|Right: A carte de visite of Captain Jelinger Henry Symons dated April 1864.
He wears the Baltic Medal for service against the Russian in 1854-55.
Carte de Visite
William Edward Abbott - Photographer
51 Oxford Street, London, England
Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Used with permission.